Boeing 777-300 Swiss Air pilot Ralf Rohner, Milky Way view


Boeing 777-300 Swiss Air pilot Ralf Rohner, Milky Way view

From the cockpit of a Boeing 777, the captain shoots an incredible time-lapse.

A stunning time-lapse video shot from the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300 shows the Milky Way and Southern Cross constellations against the backdrop of a series of violent electrical storms.

Swiss Air pilot Ralf Rohner, 50, captured the nighttime footage while cruising between Zurich and Bangkok at an altitude of 10,000 metres.

While the majority of the plane's passengers slept, Mr Rohner captured the vast wonder of the Milky Way as it passed over northern India.

Boeing 777-300 Swiss Air

"There is quite a bit of thunderstorm activity in that area," Mr Rohner explained to, explaining the distant flashes of light.

After 28 years in the air, the veteran Swiss Air captain is still "in awe" of the night visuals he encounters during his travels.

The first half of his time-lapse photograph shows the Milky Way core rising above several active thunderstorms in the Lucknow region of India.

Boeing 777-300 Swiss Air

Mr Rohner's footage later shows the Southern Cross and the stars Alpha and Beta Centauri slowly sinking below the horizon.

Thunderstorms are one of the dangers pilots must avoid during a night flight, Mr Rohner explained.

At night, thunderstorms are visible only on the weather radar of the aircraft and occasionally by intermittent lightning.

Mr Rohner's time-lapse video, which condensed approximately 90 minutes of flight time into 40 seconds, has garnered over 250,000 interactions on Facebook, which he describes as "a lot of attention by my standards."

He explained that the spectacular starry skies combined with flickering thunderstorms had captivated the public's attention.

"This combination is truly magnificent."

Boeing 777-300 Swiss Air

Mr Rohner stated that such ideal shooting conditions are only available under certain atmospheric conditions and flight paths.

"There shouldn't be too much moon, so it has to be near a New Moon, and it's even more interesting if you can see the Milky Way," he explained.

"So it depends on the season and the direction of the flight."

Mr Rohner's camera was suction-cup mounted to the cockpit window and surrounded by an anti-reflection skirt.

"After installing it, I simply pushed the button and waited for it to run."

When he is not flying around the world with his nine-year-old twins, the Swiss father of twins is an avid landscape and night sky photographer.